Saturday, June 6, 2015

The ghost of holidays past

Brunching with friends today, we spent a bit of time waxing lyrical about the majesty that is the annual snow sale at Aldi.

"But $300 ..." sighed one. "It's not a small amount of money -"

"No, no," interspersed my husband, "you don't want to think of it like that. When we went to Hotham in 2012, we spent that much just HIRING all the gear! Now we've got it and we can reuse it whenever."

"For our oh so frequent snow trips," remarked the friend drily, and with justice. We're not exactly the Aspen jet set here; the snow preparations are for a 3-day trip to Marysville to visit the snowplay areas at Lake Mountain, where we'll all be staying in a large shared cabin at the caravan park.

"I'll wear my boots elsewhere," I volunteered, and there was general agreement that a Melbourne winter would provide more than a few opportunities to truly appreciate extremely warm, lined boots.

"And M wore her stuff to camp! It was freezing, kept her warm," added the first speaker's partner.

As we were all nodding sagely at the wisdom of preparing for a snowy holiday, my mind wandered a little wistfully back to the preparations, both mental and physical, we were making this time last year for our mid-year break. This year it was the snow sale at Aldi; last year was swimwear shopping online and choosing new sunhats for everyone.

That's because last year was the year of the really BIG holiday - the kind that we only did once every 5 years or so pre-kids, and in fact the only one we've done since First Kid was born in 2003. Two weeks in Port Douglas - it was magic, we had a wonderful time, and it was warm and beautiful and a blessed escape from Melbourne winter - or so it seemed at the time, although I now think it had its downsides, as we all got quickly sick when thrust back into the ice of July at home.

I have so many fond memories of that holiday, and I'd love to go back one day, but it's important not to let the warmth and beauty of the tropical north hover like a spectre over the littler, colder holidays we'll be taking for the next while.

After all, we've had great and memorable holidays in all sorts of places closer to home. One of my three kids still swears our Warrnambool trip in 2013 is her best and favourite, while the youngest, for whom recency is king, is besotted by Phillip Island after our January break there. I myself have strong, nostalgic fond memories of our Walkerville South (Gippsland) farmstay in 2011, and our first holiday as a family of five in Echuca in 2010. None of these trips were expensive or exotic, but all were very lovely, and I am sure that, cold aside, Marysville is going to be too.

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